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BlueWolf's Howl

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August 02, 2015

Win 10 Install

This is not a "how to" on the install. Seriously, if you need that either let your kids do it for you or shut your eyes, cross your fingers and click. It's a really easy install from the user perspective. Microsoft has this set up as a "Windows Update" in just about every way (looks like the way I upgraded my mac....) [Note: the entire upgrade process took over an hour - but less than 90 min. Your upgrade time may vary.]

So what I did for my install was that I turned off all the networking components on the laptop except for Microsoft Client and IPv4. I disabled my wireless card. Then I plugged my ISP provider's router into a switch - which then connected to the laptop being upgraded. I spanned the port to a connection on another laptop where I was running Wireshark to capture the packets being sent and received by the upgraded device. For the most part, this should capture traffic to and from the device as it is installing and upgrading. Note that the actual download of the software occurred "in the background" when I "reserved" my copy of free Windows 10.

Now look at what we think is going on... You think that you've already downloaded the operating system and all it has to do is install it. So why would it need an internet connection to complete? There were quite a few packets in the capture and it's going to take a while to go through them. But this will tell me what servers it connected to during the update. There were multiple public IPs in the capture. It will be interesting to find out if they all lead back to Microsoft or not.

One of the things I did not do during the upgrade was check the wireless traffic. I do have an AirPcap adapter so I could do that at a later date. I would like to see if the upgrade turns on your wireless card to see what other devices are on your network or in your vicinity. And I should probably check for any attempts to reach out to my Bluetooth devices. But that will be at a later date. And...regardless of install - I would think that if it wants to know about all your devices, it would poll at regular intervals after the install.

So if you read my previous post about the Agreement you signed for this... you will know that Microsoft wants you to agree to send them certain information. So Microsoft wants to know -where- you are using this software. What device in what location? Realize that you are sending that information and that is what you agreed to get this software for free. Oh - and that's just the start. If you think that the agreement will be different when you pay for it...no, it won't. Same agreement - more money out of your pocket.

Now, I'm not saying don't upgrade. And I'm not saying that Microsoft is doing anything malicious. What I'm saying is that you should be aware that you are giving out this information - and giving Microsoft more control over your computer than you may realize.

Let's say you're an upstanding citizen of the US. And you only use your desktop/laptop to surf the web at home. You watch movies, you send email to your friends and you sometimes use the computer for games when you're bored. Hell, yeah - save yourself some money and get your free upgrade. Let them look, you're doing nothing wrong and you put most of everything you do on Facebook anyway...

1) Know that if Microsoft (assuming well-intentioned) can see this data - so can a malicious person.

2) What if you're an upstanding citizen with a sensitive job?

More to follow once the trace file is analyzed.

Posted by BlueWolf on August 2, 2015 09:17 AM